Texas Landlords. How Many Years Did You Wait For That First Pair

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Bird Brain
Posts: 150
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:22 am
Location: Highland Village, TX
Martin Colony History: 2017-nothing
2018-1 visitor
2019-nothing
2020-the most visitors/activity by far after making many site improvements. Unsuccessful SY Male visited for 2 weeks.

I've waited 3 years already. I don't have ideal conditions. I'm surrounded by mature trees. Despite that, I've managed to comply with the 40 foot rule. That's the best I could do. I understand that southern martins are more tree tolerant so 40 feet from trees should be acceptable. I have 2 very open flyways. My pole is above average in height (17 1/2 feet). I have Troyers. I maintain excellent HOSP control. I raised my pole height recently by almost 10 percent with the winch extension upgrade. I know that 1 1/2 feet extension doesn't sound like much, but it did enhance the birds eye view over my roof ridge and did enhance the flyways in 2 directions. Maybe this will make my setup more attractive next year. Have to wait and see. I'm not discouraged or dismayed. I knew from the beginning that patience was required. Anyway, I'd like to know how many years other Texas landlords had to wait for that first pair. Thanks.
Every time I kill a house sparrow, I make the world a better place.
C.C.Martins
Posts: 802
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- didnt know anything about martins, put up an all wrong house in 2016 and had two come by and inspect all the cavities. Left soon after not to return. Learned what i could on PMCA, made adjustments and next year was sucessful.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged.
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged.
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
Home colony: mix natural gourds, house. All SREH.
Satelite colony Oso bay preserve: 12 gourds: PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mino castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
PMCA member

Bird brain, waited one year here in Corpus. Like you less than ideal conditions have a tree (an ash) in the neighbors yard about 30 feet away. They dont mind and the hawks do not use it for launching attacks. Iv plans to put up a rack in the front to compensate.

I found out my neighbor had martins 3 years ago, old guy passed away and with him his martins thats how i got that first pair in 2016 to look. 2017 was sucessful.

Texas is good for martins, quite healthy. Dont give up hope.
Tom
PMCA member, believer in SREH and predator protection.
rrmartins
Posts: 1413
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

I was lucky and had two pair my first year.
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

I do not intend to discourage, but its impossible (or nearly so) to attract martins to an area near large trees. However, good luck
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
Dave Duit
Posts: 1684
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Five years, but the wait was worth it. It started with a single pair. I now have an average colony of 50-55 pair each year.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
jpp77
Posts: 175
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:21 pm
Location: Lawrence, KS
Martin Colony History: 2015 - 1 pair, not successful (Sparrows)
2016 - 1 pair, 4 young
2017 - 5 pair, 23 young
2018 - 8 pair, 40 young, two deaths most likely due to heat.
2019 - 18 pair, 74 eggs, 1 nest abandoned, all the rest successful.

Took me 3 years. I remember when I was younger it took my parents 5 years. They now have a colony of about 30-40 pair every year and they don't have an ideal setup. Trees fairly close to the housing, etc.. Martins don't seem to mind now. They actually sit in the trees which most people state NEVER happens. Hang in there.
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

I Cheated ! :oops: , Mine came from a Very old Colony that was Almost going extinct , until a friend kept giving me her husband's " Hand Me Down" PM housing, in "92.I had 2 pair right away ! Keep up the good wait, it'll happen ! I have 6 BIG trees next to my houses, But my Martins Learn/love to circle & DIVE Down, to their homes, I guess I'm the "Only Place" around! :-(
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
dew
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:10 pm
Location: Texas, Houston, USA

My first was a heavy home made cedar with 8 rooms. We live less than a mile from Sims Bayou in Houston TX. Put it up 18 feet on a 1.75 inch dia steel pipe in mid March 2005. One week later a pair found it useful. By the end of the month, it had 4 nesting pairs. It had a Crape Myrtle bush under it.
Whippy
Posts: 595
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 62 fledged

I first started in 2016. I think I got my gourds up a bit late but not real sure. There was a Trio across the ally that was unkept by the homeowners and only two cavities were always open. Every year, two pairs nested in it and ran off others.

In 2016 I had lot of visitors in April most coming from the Trio across the alley. In 2017 I had my first pair that fledged 3. In 2018 I got another pair and in 2019 I had 4 pair. The trio maintained 2 pair each of those years. I took over the trio and moved into my yard where it is more in the open and has more open flyways. It is 20 feet from where it used to be. The returning pair of males found it no problem. I opened 6 compartments so I'm hoping for four more in that one and still waiting on 3 Males from last year to return to their gourds. One has already made it back.

Today I had 4 males bringing in females throughout the morning and just now at 2.20pm. The females don't stick around too long but it is early.

The photo shows my layout. You can see my gourd rack in the bottom center of the photo across from the pool. The red "X" is where the Trio is now and you can see the Trio in its old location just to the north of the "X" indicated by the white rectangle between the houses next to the trees.
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MartinBro
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2020 3:21 pm
Location: South Side

Hey Whippy. What site do you use to get those photos of your yard ?
Whippy
Posts: 595
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 62 fledged

Martin,

I looked up my address on google and then clicked on the map, not a link but the map itself. Once there you can click on the satellite view and see the details. Then I did a screen shot, cropped it, added the red X, made it smaller and posted it. I had to look up on how to do a screen shot on my Mac and would have to look it up again now to do it again as I am not the technically savvy.

You can also open up google earth and search your address to do the same thing. I just don't have google earth loaded on my computer so I go from google maps to google earth view.

Hope that helps.

Coolwhips.
Geno
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:06 am
Location: Tuscaloosa

I see them right next to trees more often than people like to think. I saw a house this weekend that's 10 feet away from 100' tall trees and it had martins. You really never know until you put some housing up about the trees.

My grandfather had a house on his dock on a lake and they were in it first. One of his neighbors had a house they had to fly through the trees to get to and it always was more than half full (and bluebirds and starlings). The tree thing is not a set in stone rule. Neither is height. I see them every year in coffee cans on fence posts about 5' off the ground.

Keep trying and do the best you can.

I'm in Alabama right now - my father is from Brownsville. I had them the first year I put housing out and they filled it up in the summer when I had a house on a dock on a major river here. Now I'm 5 miles from the river and have had no takers (some lookers) for two years. I'm 1/4 mile from two 10 acre ponds so we'll see.
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

We didn’t get any our first year and were advised by my then mentor to move our pole closer to the house because they like to be around people. That also meant closer to an oak tree but he assured me it wasn’t a problem. We did get one pair that produced six young ones year 2. But we also lost them to a rat snake who got around our baffle. We then started using netting in addition to the baffle. Eventually we added hot wiring which has been the best deterrent for snakes. Now fifteen years later we have two poles and both are fairly close to oak trees. We have thirty gourds and they are full each year. In spite of the trees, the birds have four clear flyways. We do need to trim some branches from the trees because they have grown too. Whenever we have a hawk attack I’ve never seen one come from those trees. They usually sneak in from the neighbor’s yard.
tor
Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:35 pm
Location: Marlboro County, SC
Martin Colony History: Capacity: 72 Troyers on 3 X Super-24 racks

From the time we started, until what I call an establish colony, 7 years. And our property is wide open, with water pretty close by. We had nothing, then 1 pair, 1 pair, nothing, 2 pair, year after year, until we had 4 pair, on a Super-24. Wohoo. We decided to plant another Super 24 for the following year. Had 32 pair. Next year we had 39 pair. Planted another Super-24 for the following season, and had 60. Last year we had 70 pair, two short of 3 full Super-24's. Those were some long 7 years wait. But, we never gave up. So, don't give up.
Location: Marlboro County, SC

2020: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/11 - 71 pair - 298 hatched as of last nest check.
2019: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/22 - 70 pair - 315 fledged
2018: Capacity: 70 - First Scouts: 2/18 - 60 pair - 270 fledged
2017: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 2/25 - 39 pair
2016: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 3/10 - 32 pair
2015: Capacity: 24 - First Scouts: 3/23 - 4 pair

Purple Martins Of South Carolina
2020 Season
KathyMor
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Hill Country, Texas
Martin Colony History: First PM house assembled and put up 2/19. Nature House Grandpa 12 converted to 6 apartments.

This is my second year. We live a bit southeast of Kerrville, TX and outside of Boerne. We had a few PMs last year, arriving about 5 April. I'm guessing they were subadults that came over from a neighbor's established house that is only 100+ feet away. My question is if we leave our PM house closed until the PMs arrive, how much time do we have to get it open before they give up and leave? Will we see them perching on the house for at least a day or two and flying around? Not sure our neighbor will get his house cleaned out this year and there are house sparrows nesting in it right now. I want to avoid attracting house sparrows to take up residence before the PMs arrive. I know we had some in our house last year by the variety of nests when we cleaned the house this spring. But we definitely had 2-3 pairs of PMs too.
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

What type of housing do you have? If possible you might want to open a couple of units but only if you are able to check them daily to make sure HS’s don’t move in. It’s possible you might have martins arrive earlier than last year since you had SY’s. Did you do regular nest checks last year? That is the only way you’ll know if house sparrows are trying to take over your housing. Their nests should be removed ASAP and measures taken to eliminate them. There is information on the PMCA website as to how you can do that depending on your circumstances.
In an established martin colony the birds will stick around for a while if the entrance is closed. I can’t personally say how long. Maybe someone else can advise you. I’m not sure yours is considered an established colony since last year was your first year.
We have gourds and open a couple around the time they usually arrive. On occasion we have had one or two come before they were open but we kept an eye out and opened them as soon as we saw them and the birds returned.
KathyMor
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Hill Country, Texas
Martin Colony History: First PM house assembled and put up 2/19. Nature House Grandpa 12 converted to 6 apartments.

Sharon--Thanks for your very informative post. I have a Nature House Grandpa with a third floor added on. Comes to a total of 9 apartments now as we made all of them double sized. Plus put wing entrapment guards inside the doors which are now Starling resistant sized and have dry nest floors in the back part of the apartments, which we added fresh pine straw to last week. Just changed over to a winch system as the pulley system just didn't work well last year and we never lowered it to do nest checks. We watched the whole nesting season last year and the three pairs never left, so we're hopeful they fledged at least a few babies. We did open up the whole house today as we noticed five PMs flying around the neighbor's PM house. So we are now on PM watch for our house, which has its own decoy too. :grin: Would love to put up another pole with just gourds but would have to have another $200 hole drilled in our Texas Hill Country limestone, so maybe another year. Love the PMCA site, btw.
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

Is there any way you could add gourds to the bottom of your Grandpa house? I’m not familiar with that type of housing. It sounds like you’ve done all the right things! The winch is a great improvement. I don’t know how people deal with a pulley system and agree it makes it difficult to do nest checks. But now you can :grin:.
Besides the forum read as much as you can on the PMCA website. It is a plethora of information regarding all things Purple Martins.
We started out with a house, added a few gourds underneath then discovered the first arrivals picked the gourds first. We eventually did away with the house and went to all gourds. We don’t have a large colony, two poles now with a total of 30 Troyer tunnel gourds with crescent openings. That’s about all we can handle.
I understand about the limestone. Been there, done that :lol: .
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